Atomic Kitten wrote:davecole wrote:Atomic Kitten wrote:davecole wrote:...
And so we should reject any scientific theory that as lay people we cannot see is obviously correct?
What do you mean, "we", paleface? I obviously do reject it. You clearly accept it.
<snip a bunch of stuff that basically says - my actions and attitude are exactly the same as if I DID ACCEPT THEM>
There is a distinct possibility that you are correct in that assessment. It would be helpful if you could back that statement up with some kind of logical argument though. I (mostly) don't say this just to be a smartarse.
In my opinion our brains are surprisingly and depressingly bad at making rational decisions. Let me try to explain what I mean by saying that.
A number of years ago I learned about an experiment that seemed to indicate that nearly every decision we make is as a result of some process other than rational thought. Brain activity associated with logical thought lags behind most decisions. I am paraphrasing here, but it seems that most decisions are a result of emotional response and the rational brain kicks in a little later on to begin an elaborate process of self deception that makes you think that you made a conscious choice and not just an emotion based response. Here is a description of the experiment.
I think impulse buying is a good example of this process in action. When you purchase something on impulse it is an emotional decision, not a rational one. Much later at home you might experience buyers remorse after having had the opportunity to rationally evaluate the decision that you made in the shop. I also think that compulsive shoppers are people where the emotional decision making process is overwhelming in a shopping context.
Another piece of the problem is cognitive dissonance. When presented with evidence that our opinions are wrong it causes internal conflict. The stronger the opinion the larger the conflict. We have a disturbing tendency to resolve that internal conflict in favour of our current opinions by rejecting that evidence without evaluating it. In some cases presenting someone with evidence that their belief is wrong actually strengthens that belief. I can't find the original article I read, but this is a good summary and discussion.
I suspect that if you have come to a decision as a result of a rational thought process then there is a chance that contradictory evidence might cause you to entertain doubts. It might cause you to re-evaluate that decision. If your decision is a result of an emotional response then evidence might have the opposite effect. Contradictory evidence might cause a crisis of faith which in resolving the cognitive dissonance causes your emotions supporting your belief to intensify.
A guy I work with recounted an argument he had with his mother in law. She was adamant that Richmond is the best football team and could not be persuaded otherwise. When we look at the available evidence such as number of games won or lost and position on the ladder we might come to a different conclusion.
The combination of these two congitive processes makes me very pessimistic about our ability to proactively solve any problem that challenges our established way of life.